Symptoms Of Pollen Allergies
Everyones immune system is different and allergies to pollens can cause diverse signs and symptoms. This means that diagnosing an allergy can be difficult. If you think you may have an allergy, keeping a record of your symptoms can help you and your doctor to understand what is causing your symptoms.
Can Allergies Cause Fever In Kids
While some symptoms of seasonal allergies, such as a runny nose and coughing, mimic those of a cold, fever doesnt occur in allergies. Allergies should never cause a fever in a patient, says Dr. Nick DeBlasio, a pediatrician and medical director of the Pediatric Primary Care Center at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. If a child has a fever, they likely have either a viral or bacterial infection. I often use the presence of a fever as one way to distinguish between allergies and infection.
Its also important to keep in mind that babies dont typically suffer from hay fever so if theyre congested or generally feel unwell, its doubtful its related to allergies. Its rare for a child to suffer from seasonal allergies under age 2, notes DeBlasio. Unlike food allergies, which can develop any time during a childs first year, children need at least two seasons of exposure to the main culprit behind seasonal allergies pollen in order to have a negative reaction, according to Seattle Childrens Hospital.
Are You Experiencing Allergies Or A Cold
Sometimes adults can develop respiratory allergies, even if they have never had them before. Allergies develop if the immune system becomes sensitized to certain triggers, such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites or mold spores, and mounts a defense to those triggers. The symptoms you experience are signs of that defensive action.
A runny nose and fatigue can be signs of seasonal allergies, but those symptoms could also be caused by a cold virus, says Kimberly Cai, M.D., an internal medicine physician at Hackensack Meridian Health Medical Group. But there are some important differences between cold and allergy symptoms. Check the list below to see if your symptoms point to an allergy or a cold:
- Runny nose with thin, watery discharge
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Itchy nose, throat or roof of mouth
- Sinus congestion
- Duration: for as long as you are exposed to the allergen
- Runny nose with thick, white or yellow discharge
- Sinus congestion
- Duration: three to seven days
If you suspect allergies, there are ways to fight the symptoms.
Adds Dr. Lee, If these steps dont offer enough relief, we might be able to offer other treatments, such as corticosteroids, allergy shots or other medications.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
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Seasonal Allergies: Symptoms Peak Times And Management
As many as 60 million Americans live with seasonal allergies. If you find yourself with itchy eyes, sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, and coughing during a particular season, then you may have seasonal allergies.
You do not have to suffer and avoid the outdoors. Many allergy treatments are available.
Understanding what is causing your allergy symptoms is crucial. Then you can partner with your healthcare provider to develop a plan to treat your symptoms.
Do I Have Allergies Or A Cold
In the spring time, many people fall sick with either the common cold or seasonal allergies, and many of those symptoms overlap. Cindy Weston, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, assistant professor at the Texas A& M College of Nursing, gives you tips on how to decide if you have allergies or a cold. She says understanding the difference between allergy symptoms and cold symptoms will help you decide on treatment.
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Treating Fever & Allergies
If a bacterial infection is the cause of your fever, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics to eliminate symptoms. A virus will usually disappear on its own, within a week or two.
If you have sinusitis, a cold, the flu, or COVID-19, your doctor will recommend staying home, resting, hydrating, taking over-the-counter medications, using decongestants, and placing warm compresses on the sinuses.
If allergies are the root of your symptoms, there are many treatment options. Your doctor will work with you to prescribe a treatment plan based on your symptoms and specific allergens. Treatment may include:
Can Allergies Cause Fever
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergies do not cause a fever.
Despite its name, hay fever has nothing to do with hay and it doesnt actually cause a fever. Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is simply an allergic reaction to seasonal allergens that can cause sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy or watery eyes, and a sore throat.
If youre experiencing a fever in addition to allergy symptoms, like a runny nose or itchy eyes, its typically because chronic congestion in your nose has led to a sinus infection. People who suffer from allergic rhinitis are far more likely to experience chronic sinus infections, which often trigger fevers.
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Do You Have A Cold The Flu Or Allergies
The above table details the symptom differences between all three conditions.
The common symptoms of a cold, flu and allergies are a stuffy or a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, a cough, a headache, or even fatigue. Two differing symptoms are a fever or aches/pain, these would not be caused by allergies, but could be due to a cold or the flu. Symptoms of the flu are often more severe than a cold.
While the symptoms are similar, the origin of the conditions are different. A cold and the flu are both caused by different viruses, whereas allergies are caused by your immune system reacting to a trigger. Common inhalant allergy triggers are pollen, dust, mold, pet dander.
See related: Is it a cold? Or is it Allergies?
Ear Popping And Fullness
Ear popping and sensations of the ear feeling full are common symptoms of allergies, states the American Academy of Family Physicians 1. This can occur if the mucus produced by an allergic reaction, drains into the Eustachian tube. This tube travels from the back of the ear into the throat. Its job is to drain excess fluid from the ear and equalize the pressure in the ears. If the lining of this tube becomes inflamed, then the ears may start to feel full and pop.
Since the ears play a role in maintaining balance, inflammation can lead to a loss of balance, dizziness and even vertigo. The first step in treatment, is to identify the allergen that is triggering the symptoms, and then taking steps to lower exposure when possible
- Ear popping and sensations of the ear feeling full are common symptoms of allergies, states the American Academy of Family Physicians 1.
- If the lining of this tube becomes inflamed, then the ears may start to feel full and pop.
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The Primary Difference Between Allergies And A Cold
According to Weston, the primary difference between seasonal allergies and a cold is that a cold often manifests with a fever, and allergies do not. Seasonal allergies often manifest with itchy or irritated eyes and noses, and colds do not.
Many people think the long length of their symptoms suggest allergies over a cold, but this is not necessarily the case. A cold can be very tricky because some of the symptoms may linger, Weston said. Sometimes your cold may be gone, but your cough could persist for another month.
Seasonal allergies usually last the duration that the pollen or allergen is around for you to be exposed, which is usually the entire season. If a cough from a cold lasts for weeks, then the symptoms can get confusing.
The answer is simple and can be reached with a few simple questions. Do you have a fever? If yes, then you most likely do not have allergies. Do you have itchy eyes and nose? If yes, then you most likely have allergies. However, it is possible to simultaneously suffer from a cold and seasonal allergies. If you are confused or unsure of your symptoms, then call your primary care provider for more guidance.
What Causes Allergy Symptoms & Fever
Regardless of the cause, when you experience nasal congestion, mucus accumulates in your sinuses and can provoke bacterial growth. This bacteria buildup can lead to an infection, which causes a slew of symptoms, including a fever.
Many conditions can cause congestion and other allergy-like symptoms, including sinusitis, the common cold, the flu, or COVID-19. These conditions are easy to confuse with seasonal allergies, so it can be difficult to determine the actual cause of your congestion and fever.
Once you uncover the source of your symptoms, you can treat accordingly. Heres what to look for with each of these congestion and fever-inducing ailments:
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Pollen Allergies Are Seasonal
The season for pollen allergies can last for several months and occurs when the plants are flowering. This will vary depending on location and the type of plant. For instance:
- Non-native trees tend to pollinate in late winter and spring.
- In Victoria, winds from the north tend to bring pollen from non-native grasses growing inland between October and December.
- White Cypress pine is the only Australian tree that produces highly allergenic pollen and it flowers approximately between late July and the end of August.
- Species of Casuarina or Australian oak trees produce pollen throughout the year and can cause hay fever symptoms at any time.
Clinical immunology/allergy specialists who diagnose allergies have online calendars showing when common species of pollen cause allergies in the states and territories of Australia.
Can Allergies Cause Fevers Indirectly
Allergies can take quite a toll on your immune system. If your white blood cells are busy fighting off pollen, you might find yourself feeling weak. Its not uncommon to come down with a cold or sinus infection in the midst of allergy season. Sinuses filled with mucus are breeding grounds for bacteria. In this case, allergies can cause a fever, but only indirectly.
If you do come down with a cold during allergy season, you need to make sure that youre taking extra precautions to stay hydrated and relax so your body can recover. It can be exhausting for your body to fight on two fronts at the same time.
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What Allergy Treatments Are Available
Treatments can help a great deal, says Dr. Hsu. Allergy treatment has changed over the past 10 years, with a number of first-line medications now available over the counter, she says. So, while we have lots of consultations with patients, we dont necessarily send a prescription to the pharmacy. We often advise people on what to buybut we want to be very specific, because there are certainly a lot of over-the-counter medications that we would not recommend as first-line treatments.
For instance, she might start with antihistamines for itching and runny nose, steroid nasal sprays for nasal passage congestion, and antihistamine eye drops for ocular symptoms. If a patient is still uncomfortable, she might recommend a decongestant, but not for daily use, since its a medication patients can become overly reliant on. Likewise, some patients should avoid antihistamines that are excessively sedating, she says.
The problem is that some people think theyll just grin and bear it. But… you can take steps to minimize those weeks of misery.Yale Medicine pediatric allergist Stephanie Leeds, MD
Its helpful when patients have a skin or blood test to find out exactly what they are allergic to. If you are really symptomatic, its helpful to get tested at least once. I dont think you need to be re-tested year after year, but at some point, establishing the specific triggers can be helpful, because then you can take steps to avoid exposure, Dr. Leeds says.
How To Tell Allergy From Cold
Now that we know the answer to the question: can allergies cause fever, here’s how to tell whats behind the fever. The key difference between an allergic reaction and a cold is the cause.
Colds, and similar conditions, are caused by a viral infection. A virus is a living organism that infects an individual and causes the symptoms commonly associated with a cold. These viral infections are contagious and can spread from person-to-person, or by touching a surface that has been exposed to the virus. Colds are usually eradicated after a couple of weeks by the body’s immune system, which attacks and kills the virus.
Allergies, however, are not caused by a virus and are not contagious. Allergies are caused by over-active immune systems. It is a result of an individuals immune system mistakenly assuming that common, harmless particles, such as pollen or dust, are in fact germs. This leads to the immune system attacking them, and releasing chemicals such as histamine, to assist the eradication of the harmless particles. This is what causes the symptoms often associated with having a cold, as the release of chemicals causes inflammation in the nasal passageway, and lead to sneezing, sniffing, and other symptoms.
Below is a table to help you identify more differences between allergies and colds:
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Hay Fever
Although hay fever doesnt cause any serious health problems, you should see your provider to rule out other conditions, such as asthma. Seek care if hay fever symptoms are getting in the way of your daily life or making it hard for you to sleep. Your provider can help you identify the allergens that are causing a reaction and recommend treatments to help you feel better.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hay fever symptoms can affect your quality of life and keep you from doing the activities you love, but effective treatments are available. Millions of adults and children manage hay fever with medications and lifestyle changes. Talk to your provider about steps you can take to relieve symptoms, breathe easier and feel better.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/30/2020.
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Rhinitis . Accessed 9/1/2021.
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology . Rhinitis Overview. Accessed 9/1/2021.
- InformedHealth.org . Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care 2006-. Hay fever: Allergen-specific immunotherapy in the treatment of allergies. Accessed 9/1/2021.
- Wheatley LM, Togias A. Allergic Rhinitis. N Engl J Med. 2015 Jan 29 372:456-463. Accessed 9/1/2021.
Does Benadryl Help With Seasonal Allergies
Benadryl® is a first-generation antihistamine. Antihistamines do exactly what they describe they block histamine. Histamine is the chemical released as an allergic response that causes allergy symptoms, including sneezing, runny nose, hives and red, itchy, watery eyes.
However, first-generation antihistamines tend to make you drowsy. Do not take them when you must do any activities that require you to be alert. Also, recent research suggests theres a link between long-term use of Benadryl and memory loss. So be sure to talk with your doctor before using Benadryl.
While Benadryl may work for your allergy symptoms, there are other option with fewer side effects.
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Allergy Diagnosis And Treatments
It is generally quite simply for a health care professional to deduct whether an individual is suffering from allergies. Allergies are often easy to identify as they usually appear around the same time of year. Diagnosis will general involve the asking of questions about your symptoms, such as when they appeared and how quickly, as well as a physical exam. If a diagnosis is not reached after these examinations, then you will likely be referred to an allergist, who will administer a blood or skin test. A skin test is generally performed as follows:
Even if the skin and or blood test yields a positive result, an individual must also show symptoms of having an allergy to be diagnosed with one. This means that if a child, for example, tested positive for being allergic to grass pollen, but shows no signs or symptoms when amongst grass, then they cannot be definitely diagnosed with the allergy.
Symptoms Of Hearing Loss Due To Allergy
A temporary hearing loss caused by pollen allergies is typically common in children. Children are more susceptible to ear infections because they have a shorter eustachian tube, making it easier for a build-up of mucus to occur.
You should look out for the following symptoms, especially if you or your child suffers from hay fever or other allergies:
- Ear ache
- A short-term loss of hearing
- Feeling imbalanced
It is important to see medical advice if symptoms are recurring after the allergic reactions has passed over.
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How Allergies Impact The Ear
An allergy is an immune response by the body to a foreign substance that causes hypersensitivity, such as pollen, grass, fur, some foods, dust mites or drugs.
Most allergies commonly affect the middle ear because of the Eustachian tube. This is a part of the ear that works to release pressure, sort of like a drainage tube. When an allergic reaction causes swelling or mucus to form, pressure builds and the Eustachian tube doesnt drain properly, leading to difficulty hearing. It may feel as if your ears are full or that everything sounds dampened. This is usually a temporary problem known as conductive hearing loss.
The Eustachian tube also plays a role in balance. If its blocked due to an allergic reaction, you might feel dizzy or lightheaded.
Sometimes, mostly in children, the fluid in the ear becomes infected. This is known as otitis media, a middle ear infection. If these infections occur often, a doctor may recommend allergy testing.